ATD Blog

ATD21 Has Something for Everyone

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

We interviewed Bridget Dunn, ATD’s associate director of conference programming, to explore the exceptional content that will be a part of ATD21. Here is what Bridget had to say.

Tell us a little bit about your role at ATD.

If it’s related to sessions and speakers, you can bet I worked on it. From education sessions to keynotes, I develop the education programming for our attendees. My goal is to create outstanding educational content that will produce learning long after the event has ended. I have been with ATD since April 2013.

Who are the keynote speakers this year?

Our opening keynote is Angela Duckworth. In her keynote, she will highlight her influential work on grit—the tendency to pursue long-term goals with perseverance and passion. Tuesday’s keynote is Pat Lencioni. We are thrilled to welcome back Pat to discuss his revolutionary and practical framework designed to help teams emerge into the new world of work stronger than ever. We are excited to close ATD21 with Mel Robbins. You will not want to miss her science-backed secret for change, the 5 Second Rule. She will share the secrets to changing behavior, taking smart risks, bringing out the best in your team, and creating the results that you covet at work and in life. All three keynotes bring an important message about perseverance, creating stronger teams, and bringing out the best in you. Who wouldn’t love to learn more about those topics after what we have all experienced the last 18 months?


What are some of the standout sessions and speakers you are excited about?

I think all our sessions are standout. With more than 300 education sessions, we have something for everyone and then some. You will find sessions that cover all aspects of talent development, and if your focus is healthcare, higher ed, sales enablement, or government, we have sessions that focus on those niche topics. This year we are offering super sessions that will host some of the biggest names in the industry, such as Michael Allen, Britt Andreatta, Elaine Biech, Ken and Scott Blanchard, Karl Kapp, Jim and Wendy Kirkpatrick, Kassy LaBorie, Jack and Patti Phillips, Bob Pike, Paul Zak, and many more. You will have a choice of three super sessions per time block. They will be offered in our general session room but broken out into three stages. We have 42 in-person super sessions and three that will be delivered remotely. Check out the session and speaker pages on our website to view the full lineup of outstanding speakers.

What is different about ATD21 from past years?

Sessions will look a little different this year. We will have physically distanced seats so attendees can feel comfortable as they ease back into bigger group gatherings. Because of the space requirements, there will be fewer seats in session rooms, and attendees will have to reserve their seats for the sessions. We will make it easy for people to reserve their seats through our conference app. It will be important to sign up for a session and show up at the required time. Empty seats will be released about five minutes before the session begins and anyone standing in line waiting for an opening will be let in on a “space available” basis.

As mentioned before, the super sessions are a different format for us. They will be like a “silent disco,” and you will be given an RF radio headset and headphones to listen to these sessions. You will tune into your speaker’s channel to hear them and can switch between channels if you want. This will be for super sessions only. All other education sessions will be in a traditional format. We are excited to share the super session experience with our attendees.


How does the ATD21 @Home virtual program work?

ATD@Home is our virtual conference component this year. Attendees engaging in this experience will have access to the livestream of each of our keynotes and all 45 super sessions. While you can only watch one at a time live, they will all be recorded and available for access through December 3. We also will be offering some “virtual only” sessions that will be available only through the virtual platform. For our VIP customers, we also will be curating a few live Q&A with some select super session speakers. Those names will be coming soon.

What are you excited about for ATD 2021 International Conference & EXPO?

Getting back together in person. I cannot wait to feel the human energy that only comes from in-person events.

Visit our official ATD21 website to learn more about this event.

About the Author

Paula Ketter is ATD's content strategist. Previously, she served as editor of ATD's periodicals.

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